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by Shane Stokes
January 14, 2015
Announcing the lineup of teams for this year’s Tour de France, organisers ASO have confirmed the identities of five wildcard squads which will compete alongside the seventeen WorldTour teams in July.
The company has confirmed that the French trio of Europcar, Cofidis and Bretagne-Séché Environnement will be present, as will the Bora-Argon 18 team plus MTN-Qhubeka.
The selection of the latter makes history as it represents the first time an African-based, African-registered team will compete in the Tour.
Barloworld, a team with strong South African links, previously rode the race but it was registered in Europe and featured a much more multinational line-up.
Bora-Argon 18’s selection follows on from the team’s first participation in 2014 while titled NetApp-Endura. Last week’s confirmation that free to view German TV would return to the Tour made its participation almost certain and ASO has now confirmed that this will indeed be the case.
The race runs from July 4 to 26 and will also include WorldTour teams AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing Team, Etixx-Quick Step, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Soudal, Movistar, Orica GreenEDGE, Cannondale-Garmin, Giant-Alpecin, Team Katusha, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing.
ASO also announced the line-up for two other events, namely Paris–Nice (March 8–15) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 7–14).
The first of those will see the three aforementioned Pro Continental teams given a green light, namely Europcar, Cofidis and Bretagne-Séché Environnement.
The first two of those will also ride the Critérium du Dauphiné, as will Bora-Argon 18 and MTN Qhubeka.
Also see: How Mandela could boost chances of MTN-Qhubeka’s Tour debut